Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder that is triggered by foods containing gluten, a protein naturally found in wheat, barley and rye. After eating such foods like bread, pasta, or baked goods your body’s immune system begins to attack the lining of the small intestine leading to long-term damage. This damage prevents nutrients from being properly absorbed and often causes diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue, and/or weight loss.
It has been shown that you are much more likely to have Celiac Disease if a direct family member has it because of the genetic component to the disease. Doctors and researchers don’t know the exact cause of Celiac Disease but believe it may be a combination of genetics, immune system factors, and the exposure to gluten.
Celiac Disease symptoms are different in children and adults. The most common symptoms are:
• Weight Loss
• Bloating and Gas
• Abdominal Pain
Adults may also have symptoms that do not affect their digestive tract such as:
• Itchy, blistery skin rash
• Depression or anxiety
Celiac Disease symptoms often are shared among other disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, Ulcerative Colitis, and Crohn’s Disease making it difficult to initially target Celiac Disease as the only cause. Celiac Disease patients are especially hard to differentiate from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).1 Many Celiac Disease and IBS patients often complain about having more gastrointestinal symptoms or increased severity of symptoms when certain foods are ingested.2
Your doctor will order blood tests for antibodies as well as a genetic test to look for certain genes known to be associated with Celiac Disease. If these tests are positive, a biopsy of your small intestine is taken to see if any damage is present. Only a positive biopsy will definitively diagnose you with having Celiac Disease.
The most sensitive and specific blood tests for Celiac Disease are looking for the presence of tissue transglutaminase antibodies (anti-tTG) and deamidated gliadin antibodies (anti-DGP). These two antibodies are found in either IgA or IgG antibody subclasses and can help to diagnose Celiac Disease when either test is positive. A third antibody test may be needed for certain patients when other tests come back negative. In this third test, a sample of tissue is taken and tested for the presence of Endomysial Antibody (EMA).
It is important to have the blood tests done before starting a gluten-free diet since eliminating gluten from your diet can cause the blood test results to come back as negative.
Testing for genes of two human leukocyte antigens (HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8) can be used to further confirm you having Celiac Disease.
An endoscopy is performed to take a biopsy of your small intestine in order to definitively diagnose you with Celiac Disease.
It is a simple, noninvasive ELISA-based test using serum. The test detects the presence and combined levels of four known biomarkers of Celiac Disease / gluten sensitive enteropathy. This panel will include the antibodies against tissue transglutaminase (anti-tTG) in both IgA and IgG antibody subtypes as well as antibodies against deaminated gliadin peptide (anti-DGP) in both IgA and IgG antibody subtypes. The results will be reported back to the ordering physician within 24 hours of receiving the sample via secure reporting methods of either fax, email, or online web portal.
Patients suffering from these symptoms will benefit from being tested for both IBS using IBSchek® and celiac disease using our celiac panel.
1 M. El-Salhy, B. Lomholt-Beck, D. Gunderse. The prevalence of celiac disease in patients with irritable bowel syndrome; Molecular Medicine Reports 4: 403-405, 2011
2 Ford AC, Chey WD, Talley NJ, et al. Utility of diagnostic tests for Celiac Disease in irritable bowel syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis. Gut. 2008; 57(suppl II): A7